Offshore natural gas could dramatically change Greece’s fortunes, should early estimates of $600 billion worth of reserves be confirmed, according to a study presented to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in June and seen by Reuters.
The study, collating existing scientific data, says that geological similarities indicate that reserves offshore Crete may match the prolific Levantine Basin where recent Israeli and Cypriot discoveries are clustered.
It points to strategically significant reserves in Greek waters south of Crete in the range of 3.5 trillion cubic meters (Tcm), enough to cover over six years of EU gas demand, and the equivalent of about 1.5 billion barrels of oil.
While it will take years to explore and develop any offshore gas sector, Greece has launched a licensing round and has commissioned a seismic survey company to pin down the extent of hydrocarbon deposits. The results are expected in mid-2013.
Presenting their findings, study authors Antonis Foscolos, Elias Konofagos and Nikos Lygeros said they expected the reserves to generate $599 billion in state earnings over 25 years.
“We feel this is a very conservative figure,” Konofagos, whose Athens-based company Flow Energy informally advises the government on energy strategy, told Reuters.
Foscolos, professor emeritus at the Technical University of Crete and the Canadian Geological Survey, said that subsea methane emissions and the presence of gas hydrate mounds on the seabed indicate the presence of large reservoirs.
Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering in June estimated that Greece had 4 Tcm of gas and a further 3 billion barrels of crude oil.
Taking into account savings from fuel imports – Greece spends five percent of GDP on energy imports – discoveries on the scale envisaged could clear the country’s debt and bring billions in annual cost savings. (Full Article in REUTERS)
PS Wait until you read the crude oil report, babe